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2001 Opinions

Date:   October 8, 2001
Prepared By:   James A. Robinson
Phone:   (850) 488-7707
Suncom:   278-7707
Opinion No.:   01-18
Staff Contact:   None
MEMORANDUM OPINION
TO: Frank Kruppenbacher, General Counsel
Orange County Public Schools
FROM: James A. Robinson, General Counsel
SUBJECT: Classification of School Psychologists
RE: Your Letter of September 26, 2001

QUESTION PRESENTED: May a school district determine whether to classify school psychologists as "administrative personnel" or as "instructional personnel?"

CONCLUSION: Yes, but such classification must be based on statutory definitions. "School psychologists" fall within the definitions of "pupil personnel services" and "student personnel services," not "administrative personnel."

DISCUSSION: Pursuant to Section 228.041(9)(b), F.S. (2001), "school psychologists within the classification of "pupil personnel services," which are in turn a classification of "instructional personnel." In the Educational Funding Accountability Act, Section 236.685, et seq. F.S. (2001), "instructional specialists" are defined to include staff members responsible for providing "student personnel services." See Section 236.685(2)(d), F.S. (2001). We construe "pupil personnel services" and "student personnel services" as being synonomous.

It is incumbent upon the school board to classify each employee of the school board or school district into one of the six categories. These categories are set forth in Section 236.685(3), F.S. (2001), and include instructional personnel as well as "administrative personnel," the latter term being defined in Sections 228.041(10) and 236.685(2)(a), F.S. (2001). The actual function performed by the employee should control the classification. Thus, a staff member performing the functions of a school psychologist would fall under the "instructional personnel" classification. If for some reason an employee who happens to be a school psychologist is assigned to an administrative personnel position, the appropriate classification would be "administrative personnel."

Section 229.555(2), F.S. (2001) requires the Department maintain a comprehensive database system of components of the educational system. That system contains similar definitions and distinctions for reporting district staff. The 2001-2002 reporting manual can be found on the Internet at http://www.fldoe.org/eias/dataweb/staff_0102.asp.

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